November 7, 2018


The EU Blue Card is still a relatively unknown document in Bulgaria. And in recent years, many employers in Bulgaria have a shortage of highly qualified personnel as well. The most tangible lack of skilled staff is in the sphere of IT services, but not only in that sphere.

The procedure for recruiting highly qualified foreigners – citizens of countries outside the European Union – is relatively complex and time-consuming. The administrative procedures pass through several different departments. These include the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Employment Agency, the NRA.

The selected employee must have the expertise required for the job. And acquired higher education. It should be certified by a diploma, certificate or other document issued by a competent authority. After a course of studies taken, lasting not less than three years conducted by an educational institution recognized as a higher education institution by the respective country.

There are also specifics in connection with his/her remuneration. The gross salary should be at least 1,5 times higher than the average salary in the Republic of Bulgaria. It falls in accordance with data available for the last 12 months prior to entering into the employment contract.

If the foreigner works on a regulated profession, it is also necessary to comply with the requirements for the exercise of a regulated profession in Bulgaria. These are the professions of medical doctors, lawyers, architects, machinists, etc.

The requirement that the employer should perform a preliminary labor market research. It includes a request to the Labour Office Directorate /LOD/ as per the respective place of employment, job advertisements in the media and on the Internet, etc. This should provide evidence that it has actively sought for the required specialist on the labor market is most burdensome. This requirement may not be met only if the profession of the job applicant is entered in the approved ‘List of professions for which there is a shortage of highly qualified specialists on the Bulgarian labor market’. It comprises positions of 10 single groups of professions in the Information and Communication Technologies sector.

In the fastest case, the procedure for obtaining all necessary permits takes 2 months. The maximum initial period of the residence permit is 4 years. In the event that the duration of the employment contract is lesser, the permit is issued for the duration of the employment contract, extended by three months. And then it may be renewed if there are grounds for re-issuing thereof.

Cases where the foreigner already has an EU Blue card issued in another Member State are relatively easier. However, in this case, the applicant should apply for a Blue Card in Bulgaria.

During the first two years of highly qualified employment, the holder of the EU Blue Card can carry out activities corresponding to the conditions under which he/she has acquired the EU Blue Card, only in the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria. There could be a change of the employer only by a written authorization of the Employment Agency.

Upon receipt of a Blue Card, the employee may also bring to Bulgaria the members of his/her family. This is possible according to his/her permitted period of stay only.

After the expiry of 5 years of lawful and continuous residence in the territory of the European Union, the employee may be granted a long-term residence status in Bulgaria. At least two of these five years should be residence in Bulgaria.

Yosifova, Ivanov & Petrov Law Firm can assist employers in each stage related to the recruitment of foreigners – from the conclusion of the respective employment contract /under condition/, through the appropriate administrative procedures for issuing a visa for long-term residence, market test, obtaining a work permit, etc.

For more information, please contact us at the e-mail addresses listed in the Contacts section.

Details about the amended procedure of obtaining EU Blue card, you can find in our related article:

EU blue card



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